Challenges in Service Delivery


By

S.Lakshmi Narasimhan
M.Com, B.L, MBA, (M.Phil), (Ph.D).
Asst. Professor
Department of Management Studies
Administrative Management College
Bangalore-83
 


Executive Summary

The case tracks the clash of interest between the stakeholders of an organization, particularly the customer and the employees. The organization supplied engine for the drilling operations of the customer .The customer faced huge loss if the drilling operations were stopped. The customer therefore required the service within 24 hours on any complaint. The service provider faced a challenge in sending its service representatives because of the hazardous nature of the job and working environment. The challenges faced by the organization were to render the service as per the demand of the customer and improve the perceived quality of service.

Key words: Service, hazardous, work environment , perceived quality of service.

Introduction

ALFA  was a public sector undertaking, with established expertise in manufacture and assembly of products related to the defense sector .The growth of the organisation was rapid and in the year 1970, it  diversified into  maintenance , repair and overhaul of industrial and marine gas turbines under the license of reputed manufactures. The company , under the name AMGT-ALFA also offered gas turbines based project in the range of (1-25 MW) for power generation, co-generation and gas pumping based on a range of aero derivative industrial gas turbine.

Wherever it was felt that greater functional autonomy was required ALFA  formed Joint Ventures. With increase in the size of the operations , ALFA-AMGT was separated from ALFA main division in the year 1980.While operational autonomy was given to AMGT the controlling powers were still retained by ALFA.

AMGT-ALFA catered to the need of huge public sector giants like BAIL and MIST.. AMGT--ALFA sold three types engines (i.e) ABC, DEF3200 and LCM . Its principal customer MIST, used the engine for the off-shore drilling operations located in Mumbai North High and Mumbai South. The drilling operation of  MIST was for 24 hours.Its main work was pumping out gases and extracting oil. MIST faced the prospect of losing 6.25 million dollars for halting drilling operations for an hour. Therefore stopping of the engine was the last option. A reference had to be made to the higher authorities of MIST for permission. The lead time to halt the operation took atleast 36 hours. MIST being a large and important customer demanded that, AMGT should honor service calls within 24 hours. The operation being off shore, MIST arranged  a chopper to airlift the service provider from Mumbai onshore. When AMGT-ALPHA received the complaint from MIST it faced a huge challenge in deputing Field Service Representative (FSRs) immediately. AMGT had about 12 employees who had undergone the Sea Survival Training . These  FSRs were competent to undertake the services.

When the customer had faced a problem with the engine, a complaint was raised to the Marketing department of the service provider. The information were passed on to the Methods and Shops department which identified the FSR who had to be deputed along with tooling kits. The Human Resource department worked upon the cost of travel and accommodation details .On receiving approval from the finance department reference was made to the marketing department for releasing the movement order and order of deputation.The creation and flow of movement order is given in the following table.

Creation and flow of movement order

Departments

Roles and Responsibility

Marketing Department

Receives Complaint

Method and Shop Department

Generates Movement Order
Deputes FSRs

Human Resource Department

Arrangement of TA,DA and mode of transportation

Finance Department

Approval of  Expense

Marketing Department

Issue of Movement Order to the FSRs.


In the process of nominating the FSRs  AMGT faced the following challenges .

Reluctance of the FSRs to accept the assignment because of the following reasons:

a.Operating in a hazardous environment.
b. The basic and   safety needs of employees were not considered while on the service calls.
c. Lack of contact with outside world as they were isolated.
d.Working on  off shore ,which is not similar to the regular working environment.
d. The treatment of FSRs by MIST were unsatisfactory since, they were treated as casual laborers.
e.Lack of accurate understanding about the nature of complaint raised   by MIST.
f. FSR's  needed  to carry heavy tool kits.
g. Inability to determine the exact   date of return to the home town.
h. Waiting time at off shore location since the operations were halted only after the arrival.
i . Retardant  temperature conditions of the driller ( 650 degree centigrade).
j. FSRs perceived that,they were given inadequate  compensation allowance since the activity was hazardous.
k.Travel arrangements for the return journey have to be managed by the employees themselves.

Once the FSRs were nominated by Methods and Shops department arranging for the approval to travel by air, release of the tour advance, arrangement  of  tickets were all challenging tasks by themselves. The task  had  become more challenging when all these activities need to be completed in a short span of time.

Conclusions

The management had tried several solutions to solve this problem such as

* By increasing the dearness allowances for the FSRs , however the special revision became ineffective with the revision of DA for the other groups concerns who were not engaged in such hazardous jobs .
* Attempt  was  made  to appoint new employee's as FSRs which was  not effective due to  the fixation of scales.

Questions:

1. What were the gaps in the quality of service provided by AMGT,ALFA?
2. Comment  on the conflict between MIST& AMGT-ALFA   in the delivery of service?
3. What were the challenges faced by the FSRs in fulfilling the service call?
4. What were the challenges faced by AMGT-ALFA in motivating their employees?
5. What are the strategic & operational initiatives which AMGT-ALFA should take up ?
6. Suggest a suitable service blue print for AMGT-ALFA.

Teaching  Notes  ---   Challenges in Service Delivery

1. What are the objectives / purpose of the case?

The objectives of the case is to discuss the concept of

* Service quality
* Service development and design
* Employee's role in service delivery
* To trace the relationship between company and employees ,company and customers ,and employee and customers in the process of service delivery
* To trace the personnel / role conflict  of the employees.
* To trace the conflict between the organisation and the client.

2. What preparations do you think the participants should make before reading the case?

The participants should hold a conceptual understanding about the various stake holders of the organisation, their enter-relationship and enter dependencies. In addition they need to have a clear understanding of the following concepts:

* Service Quality
* Service development and design
* Employee's role in service delivery
* Service blue print.

3. Should the case be analyzed individual or group level?

The case should first be analyzed  first at the individual level and then in group level.

4. Would you like to recommend any specific resources for reference by the case discussants?

The recommendation is to refer the book authored by Valarie A Zeithaqml, Dwayne, Dremler, Mary Jo Bitner, Ajay Pandit  titled "Services Marketing Integrating customer focus across the firm"  the latest  edition of Mc Graw Hill Companies.

5. What should be the size of the group constituted for discussion of the case?

The ideal group size is 4 to 6.
 


S.Lakshmi Narasimhan
M.Com, B.L, MBA, (M.Phil), (Ph.D).
Asst. Professor
Department of Management Studies
Administrative Management College
Bangalore-83
 

Source: E-mail October 19, 2012

          

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